The stars nip in between bands to cover The Velvet Underground and Neil Young...

MICHAEL STIPE, BONO and MOBY all made surprise appearances at the second NEW YORK AGAINST VIOLENCE benefit concert at NEW YORK CITY’s HAMMERSTEIN BALLROOM last night (October 29), in between scheduled sets by JON SPENCER BLUES EXPLOSION and the event’s organisers, the BEASTIE BOYS, NME.COM can exclusively reveal.

Stipe and Moby took the stage unannounced while concertgoers awaited the headlining Beastie Boys, all three of whom had already appeared on stage separately to introduce speakers throughout the evening. Wild cheers erupted as fans quickly recognised the two bald stars, Moby sitting down with an acoustic guitar to accompany the REM frontman for a moving cover of the Velvet Underground’s ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’.

The duo followed up the song with a rendition of Neil Young’s ‘Helpless’, only to have near-hysteria descend on the venue as Bono, also unannounced, strode out from backstage halfway into the number, bearing a makeshift sign echoing the song’s title.


The U2 singer joined Stipe on vocals for the rest of the song, segueing at one point into the opening verse from Bob Dylan’s ‘Knocking on Heaven’s Door’. All three stars left the stage together following the second song.

Performances from N.E.R.D., Mos Def, The Roots, Pakistani artist Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and a DJ set by Afrika Bambaataa rounded out the sold-out show, which included Chris Rock and Clare Danes among its thousands of attendees.

The concert followed Sunday night’s benefit, which also featured the Beastie Boys as headliners, along with Cibo Matto, The B-52s and The Strokes.

As at Sunday’s show, the Beastie Boys performed a number of career-spanning hits, such as ‘Slow and Low’, ‘Shake Your Rump’, ‘Sure Shot’ and ‘Intergalactic’, often rhyming over newer tracks, supplied by Mixmaster Mike, including a performance of ‘So What’cha Want’ laid over the music from Missy Elliott’s ubiquitous ‘Get Ur Freak On’.

Proceeds from both shows will go to disaster relief funds established by the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) and the New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF) in the wake of the September 11 attacks.